The Narrative Design Canvas

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Narrative Design Canvas” target=”_blank”>Narrative Design Canvas</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>lksriv</a></strong> </div>

On the ethics of telling others’ stories, at TEDxTransmedia

Presentation Slides from “Performing Change: Narrative Design for Social Justice”

Regarding Humanity Salon: “Storytelling…Who’s Doing It Well?”

Regarding Humanity Salon, streamed live on September 12, 2013: 

Lina Srivastava moderates a discussion with Ingrid Kopp, Mallika Dutt, and Michael Premo on storytelling in human rights and development work. 

The “Beyond #PovertyPorn” Debate: Instances of “Positive” or Effective Storytelling

Kurante hosted a G+ Hangout on the question of “poverty porn” and how to move beyond it. Participants included Charlie Beckett, Ethan Zuckerman, Linda Raftree, TMS Ruge, Lindsay Poirier, and myself. The last question of the day was to talk about any instances of positive imagery we can point to. The following is a list I came up with just after wrapping up the call, and therefore is not exhaustive and not in any particular order, but I hope helpful.  I’m also not appending any comment to them for the moment, but may come back to this post in a few days and edit to do so.

All are independent projects, not native to any institution, but each represents a way of telling complex stories, trusting the “subjects” or on the other hand participatory/local storytelling, humor and satire, or innovation in narrative.

1. Sandy Storyline

2. Radi-Aid

3. Granito

4. Alma, A Tale of Violence

5. Dadaab Stories

6. Proyecto Rosa

7. Revolutionary Optimists

8. A series of short films by Marc Silver*

(a) A Life on Hold

(b) Laugh and the World Laughs With You

(c) The Torch

(d) Inside Comayagua Prison

9. Lakou Mizik*

10. Enjoy Poverty — This one it isn’t “positive,” per se, but instead is cynical, satirical, and controversial, and therefore gets a special mention.

* Disclosures: Marc Silver is one of my partners (on Who Is Dayani Cristal? a project he founded with Gael Garcia Bernal). Lakou Mizik is a project that I work with.

​This post was originally published at 

“Poverty Porn and a New Way to Regard Social Impact”: A piece in GOOD magazine


I recently wrote a piece in GOOD magazine about the concept of “poverty porn,” and image, representation, and design in global development, and included a mention about the launch of Regarding Humanity.  The piece has since generated a healthy debate in the comments section. You can find the piece here.  

Announcing the launch of “Regarding Humanity”

Sensational images of poverty are often used to frame issues of humanitarian aid to advocate for a cause, design programs, or raise funds. This practice, often called “poverty porn,” represents people living in poverty as victims rather than as people capable and determined to define their own future.
From multiple photos of rape victims in the Congo used to raise funding in annual reports, to repeated images of squatting South Asian women looking up at Western aid workers, to pictures of naked and emaciated children lying in the rubble after Haiti’s earthquake, to initiatives that seek donations of used underwear to send to Africa, a group of us saw that questionable instances of framing and narrative were rampant. 
We decided we needed to create more dialogue and debate around this topic. So over the past few years, we have been working on building a platform that actively aims to foster discussion on the way communities are portrayed and media is produced, and how communities can be brought into the conversation about how they are represented.
Today we launch Regarding Humanity.
The project’s creators are a group of practitioners whose experience spans humanitarian aid, transmedia storytelling, process and service design, ethnography, visual thinking, social innovation, and technology. We came together because each of us has faced the challenge of representing communities in our work. And we had individually seen numerous examples of “poverty porn.” We recognized that the questions are many and complex, and that there is a need for a larger public discussion about ethical representation to shift the focus from aid to agency.
The project is a multimedia platform that explores the way we see, listen and frame stories of “the poor” — and how respectful and relevant storytelling can create more context and nuance, and depict more complex realities. We aim to engage practitioners, educators, journalists, and students in the question: How do we as a community dedicated to social impact maintain local agency, partnership, andrelevant, respectful narrative as core values of our work?
The website and blog will source content from a diverse global set of authors and will serve as an educational resource and discussion forum around visual literacy, ethnography, and narrative integrity.
We will be expanding over time to develop a discussion and salon series, research, commissioned and submitted commentary, and an educational curriculum.
We invite you to explore the site. Let us know your thoughts on how to generate constructive conversation and learning on eradicating poverty porn and creating meaningful, effective content for social impact.


“Does Social Media Exacerbate Poverty Porn?”

It’s my pleasure to be participating in Technology Salon New York City’s event on May 14, 2013, discussing social media and poverty porn, alongside Linda Raftree, TMS Ruge, and Tom Murphy.

The event will not be streamed or recorded, but follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #tsnyc, and look for our write-ups after the event.

The TFI Sandbox

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 10.29.05 AM

The Tribeca Film Institute unveiled its TFI Sandbox, a site focusing on the work done by its Digital Initiatives department and the experience of interactive storytelling. Thank you to them for inviting me to be interviewed as part of their launch and resources section.

Seminario Transmedia

Spanish translation of a talk at Seminario Transmedia in Bogoto’, Colombia.